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History of personality psychology

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It is understandable that people from ancient times were interested in explaining individual differences in behavior.

The beginnings of personality theory date back to the times of the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates (460-370 BC), attempted to classify the major descriptors underlying individual differences in terms of four different types, which were a function of biological differences in fluids or the "four humours" — namely, the sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic temperaments.

Next, Galen (131-200) developed the first typology of temperament in his dissertation Die Temperamentis, and searched for physiological reasons for different behaviors in humans. He reinterpreted Hippocrates' theory, and emphasized that differences in personality were a direct reflection of constitutional differences in the body.

Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654), the English herbalist, was the first to disregard the idea of fluids as defining human behavior,

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), was influenced by his reading of Galen and the ancient Greeks and published his 'Anthropology From the Pragmatic Viewpoint', repeating the classification of the four types of personality as a fundamental description of individuality.

Alfred Adler (1879-1937), Theorien von Adicke (1905), Eduard Spränger (1914), Ernst Kretchmer (1920), Erich Fromm (1947), and Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) all theorized on the four temperaments (with different names) and greatly shaped our modern theories of temperament.


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